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August 2007
Volume 3 Number 1 

Message from the Utah State Archivist

Regional repository grants and training program funded

By Patricia Smith-Mansfield, Director

The Utah State Archives received $200,000 from the 2007 Utah State Legislature session for a regional repository training and development program. The program funds were initiated and supported by Representative Wayne A. Harper, a member of Utah’s State Historical Records Advisory Board. The funding initiative will assist the state’s regional and local repositories and become available in FY2008 as a three-year training and development program.

Representative Harper has long had an interest in the preservation and public access of Utah’s historical documentary materials. As a member of the legislature, he put forward the funding initiative to assist the state’s regional repositories in this effort. Because of Representative Harper’s work, this funding initiative was passed in the 2007 General Session.

Regional repositories hold historical document collections that are specific to regions within Utah. By preserving these materials at a local level, the public can access these records within their region rather than travel to Salt Lake City for access. As part of the program, regional repositories will develop outreach programs in their respective areas and training will be provided in such areas as appraisal, archival processing, disaster preparedness, and preservation of records.

In addition to training opportunities, there will be a grants program available for the next three years to institutions that hold historic records. These grants will assist in preserving historic documents in Utah.

It was through Representative Harper’s vision and efforts that this funding initiative passed the legislature. Historic records throughout the state will be better preserved and institutions will know how to care for their historic records because of this program. Utah State Archives was fortunate to have found a champion for historical records in the Utah State Legislature in Representative Wayne Harper.

Utah Public Notice Website Created

In the 2007 General Session, the Utah State Legislature passed HB 222S04 Open and Public Meetings - Electronic Notice. HB222 authorized the creation of the Utah Public Notice Website to assist the public to find, search, and subscribe to posted public notices of any public body in the state. The website will be administered by the Utah State Archives. Beginning April 1, 2008, a notice of a public meeting must be posted on the Utah Public Notice Website, with exceptions for municipalities and service districts that have an annual budget of less than $1 million.

Currently, the Department of Technology Services is building the website, as authorized by the law. The website will consist of a database of public hearing notices, agendas, and minutes of public bodies in state and local governments, with robust searching capabilities. The website will provide a subscription service wherein citizens or media can subscribe for notification of various public body meetings. It will need to be a tool that will be easy to access and use for public bodies to be able to post their public meetings.

Even though the law doesn't take effect until April 2008, we have received a number of inquiries about the site from various public entities. The Archives is working with the Department of Technology Services, state agency PIOs, the Utah Association of Counties, and the League of Cities and towns to review the technical and business requirements of the law and to garner comments and expectations.

Legislature funds archival programs

The Utah State Legislature approved several appropriations bills benefiting archival programs in Utah during its 2007 session.

Legislators approved a bill appropriating $200,000 for a regional repository training and development program. The one-time appropriation authorizes spending over a three-year period and includes $50,000 for training and $150,000 ($50,000 per year) for grants to regional and local repositories throughout the state. The bill was sponsored by Representative Wayne A. Harper (R-West Jordan). A day-long training session for representatives of regional positories was held March 29 to introduce the grants program and brainstorm on the needs regional and local repositories have in the area of training and development.

The archives received funding of $100,000 to develop and implement an Electronic Business Plan and $55,000 to support digital collections. The business plan will address the issues of the management of long-term records and the preservation and access of permanent historical records in electronic formats.

The legislature also charged the Utah State Archives with the responsibility for implementing a Public Notices website which will post notices and agendas of open meetings of all Utah’s public bodies beginning April 2008. A committee composed of representatives from the Archives, the Governor’s Office, and the Department of Technology Services is meeting to develop the business requirements and business scope. The extent of Utah’s project is believed to be much larger than anything that has been done before.

Historic Utah death certificates now viewable online

The Utah State Archives and Records Service, in conjunction with the Genealogical Society of Utah and FamilySearch™, announced in January that the state’s free online index to death certificates is now linked to original images of the historic documents. Users merely need to type in an ancestor’s name who died in Utah between 1905 to 1956, and they will be directed to a brief summary of the ancestor’s death certificate (name, sex, age, date of death, and county where death occurred) with a link to view the original image. Users need to simply click on the certificate image to see a larger, high quality view of the original death certificate. To search the index and view the certificates, users need to go to http://historyresearch.utah.gov/indexes/index.html.

The online index to 250,000-plus Utah deaths was created by the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics. FamilySearch digitized images of the death certificates and provided the technology to link the images of the certificates to the state’s online index. The linking process was completed in a few weeks.

Use of the index jumped dramatically following publication of a news release announcing the posting of the digitized images, increasing from an average of 3,000 hits per day to 30,000 the first day and 50,000 the second. Over the next two weeks, the figure fluctuated between 21,000 and 50,000 hits per day.

NHRPC awards grant for courts project

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHRPC) has announced the award of a grant to the Utah State Archives to help fund the Judicial Records Preservation and Access Project. Grant funds will allow the Archives to hire three temporary employees to microfilm and create finding aids for the historic records of Utah’s Fifth District Court (Washington, Iron, and Beaver Counties) from statehood in 1896 to 1955 and for the Territorial Second District Court which was seated in Beaver County from 1870 to 1896.

Court records frequently are requested by researchers. Records involved in this project will include probate, civil, and criminal case files, as well as court registers of actions, minutes, and judgment books. This project will make these records available on microfilm at Dixie College and Southern Utah University as well as at the Utah State Archives. The records include information about the administration of estates, divorces, and other civil actions as well as the records of criminal cases brought before the court. Criminal records for Territorial Second District seated in Beaver include the trial of John D. Lee (1875-1876) for his involvement in the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre.

These Southwestern Utah court records will inform us of the lifestyles and challenges of the people of this area. How did the miners, farmers, and ranchers navigate the transition from the settlement era to a more commercial economy? The records will document disputes over water rights and mining claims. Utah State Archives staff is pleased to be able to take this step toward the goal of making all historic judicial records more available to researchers.

Archives receives LSTA grant

The Utah State Archives received LSTA grant funding for the “Utah Legislative Floor Debate Audio Recordings Preservation and Access Digitization Project” to make valuable documentary materials more accessible to the public. The $7,500 mini grant was announced by the Utah State Library in March. The Utah Legislature used Audograph disks to record floor debates for over three decades. The House recordings span 1957-1989 while the Senate recordings cover 1965-1989. These historic recordings are especially valuable to those interested in legislative history and legislative intent research. LSTA funds enable the State Archives to acquire the necessary computer hardware and software to convert the original Audograph recordings digitally from an obsolete format into a modern digital format and provide storage supplies for the original disks.

Changes made to Utah State Records Committee

Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., made two appointments to the seven-member Utah State Records Committee (SRC).

Robert D. “Robbie” Robertson (Murray City Council) was appointed as the political subdivision elected official, replacing Carol Heales (Murray City Recorder). John (“Lex”) Hemphill (retired Salt Lake Tribune sports writer) was appointed as the news media representative replacing Dixie Brunner (editor, Southern Utah News).

Continuing members include Carl R. Albrecht (general manager and CEO, Garkane Power Association, Inc.), citizen representative, and Scott Whittaker (vice president, File Center, Inc.), private sector records manager. Standing members include: Patricia Smith-Mansfield (State Archivist), Governor's designee, as committee chairman; Betsy Ross, State Auditor's designee; and Linda Thatcher, Division of State History designee. David Geary, Assistant Attorney General, serves as legal counsel to the Committee. Susan Mumford of the Utah State Archives serves as executive secretary.

State Archives to Celebrate Archives Month in October

Archives and records repositories throughout the Beehive State will observe Utah Archives Month during October 2007. The theme is “Documenting Utah: Our Past Deserves a Future.” Events include historical lectures by prominent scholars; tours of participating repositories; and family history classes.

The Utah State Archives will host “Research at Noon” brown bag lectures each Wednesday and Friday throughout October. Building tours and demonstrations of the automated storage and retrieval system are also planned.

Training for school district administrators offered

The Utah State Archives held its first comprehensive training for school districts on May 15. This training is designed specifically for school district administrators and provides training on the requirements of the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) and other records management and access issues. A second session is scheduled August 16 in Cedar City.

Staying informed has never been more convenient

Having trouble classifying your records? Uncertain about the correct procedure for taking GRAMA requests? Wondering how to get all those boxes of records out of your office and safely deposited at the Records Center?

These and many other questions are answered for you at the Utah State Archives training classes. The Archives offers basic records management and GRAMA training at our Archives building. Training sessions provide records officers, managers, GRAMA officers and other interested state and local government employees with important information on complying with GRAMA and how to better manage government records. Additional classes are also offered for school districts and law enforcement agencies.

Signing up is easy. Just go to our website, www.archives.utah.gov, and click on the “Training” icon. All of our classes are listed on this site. Click on the word “Register,” and fill in the blanks to register for any class you would like to attend. You will automatically be registered for the class of your choice.

Need training specifically designed for your agency? Your Archives analyst can provide on-site training sessions. To find your analyst’s name, click on the “Agency Services” icon on our website, and select the analyst assigned to your agency. Call your analyst to schedule an agency training session.

Retention schedules available through web

Agency records officers throughout Utah now have access to current general retention schedules directly from the Utah State Archives and Records Service web site (http://archives.utah.gov/recordsmanagement/retention-schedules.html). The up-to-date electronic versions replace out-dated static electronic and printed forms.

Utah State Archives staff news

Stuart R. Preece, administrative services manager, retired from the Utah State Archives and Records Service after eight years of employment. A party in his honor was held April 27. Throughout his tenure, Preece worked as a local government records analyst. Preece and Patricia Lyn Scott initiated the ongoing Local Government Preservation Project (previously designated the Millennial Records Preservation Project), which began in 1999.

Rosemary Cundiff has assumed the responsibilities of local government records analyst. Cundiff works with municipalities (cities and towns), counties, and courts.

Kerry V. Soelberg “gleefully” joined the Utah State Archives on June 4 as administrative services manager. Soelberg retired from the Utah Department of Public Safety, where he served for 28 years as an administrative services manager, budget officer, and Medicaid fraud auditor. Before that, he worked as a workmans compensation insurance auditor for two-plus years for the State Insurance Fund. Soelberg earned a bachelors degree in political science and an M.P.A. from Brigham Young University, and has also taken substantial coursework in accounting at the University of Utah. He completed the Certified Public Manager program and is active in the Utah CPM Society. Kerry and his wife, Eilene, have been married for 25 years. They have four daughters and one son, with a daughter and son still at home in West Jordan. Kerry is a Scoutmaster, Scout district vice-chairman, and youth soccer coach. Soelberg is “thrilled to become acquainted with some great records and history geeks and hopes to become a member of their society.”

Rodney Swaner was hired as an archivist April 23. Swaner previously was a part-time, temporary employee at the Archives and was responsible for the digitization, scanning, and entering metadata for the records of former three-term Governor Michael O. Leavitt (1993-2003). He received a B.S degree in geography with an emphasis in GIS and GPS from the University of Utah in May 2006. He also has a B.S. degree and background in archaeology. Swaner worked as a GIS/Archaeology intern for the BLM and USFS/Ashley Forest. Next he worked for the State Historical Preservation Office in the Antiquities department as a GIS intern. Then he went onto work for AGRC as a GPS/GIS intern before initially coming to Archives in October 2005.

Glen Fairclough, processing and reference archivist, made two presentations at a family history seminar in West Valley City on April 28. Brandon Metcalf, processing and reference archivist, presented a paper at the annual Mormon History Association meeting in Salt Lake City on May 25.

Darin Hall has been hired as a temporary microfilmer for the Judicial Records Preservation and Access Project. “I’m 23 years old. I come from a large family; I’m the youngest of eight kids and our names all start with the letter ‘D.’ I’ve live all my life in Rose Park, on the west side of Salt Lake near the Fairgrounds. I graduated from West High in 2002. I’ve worked many jobs since then, the last one being a construction job so this definitely is a change of pace and atmosphere but I’m starting to like it.” Hall was hired as a temporary microfilmer in February.

Allen Clark was hired on July 2, 2007 as a full-time, temporary employee at the Utah State Archives and will be working in micrographics, filming records for the Judicial Records Preservation and Access Project. Prior to being hired he was a volunteer for 1.5 years at the Archives in the processing section. Clark retired from the Salt Lake County Fire Department in 2000, having served for 23 years. His specialties included Truck Company Operations, Hazardous Materials, High Angle Rescue, and Urban Search and Rescue. He has Associate degrees in both electronics and fire science.

Jennifer Livingston, a senior history major at Brigham Young University, completed an internship with the record processing section of the Utah State Archives in June. The internship covered one quarter (125 hours per quarter). She previously interned at the Family History Library and worked for Ancestry.com. She will graduate in August and currently resides in Salt Lake City.

Emily Gurr, who is serving a summer internship processing records, recently graduated from BYU-Idaho with a history degree. Last year she interned for BYU collecting immigration records from the National Archives, libraries, and PRO offices in England and Wales. “This summer I am preparing for the British genealogical accreditation test. I look forward to this summer internship to prepare me for future education in libraries and archives,” Gurr said.

Michael McLane has been hired as a full-time, temporary processing archivist. He will assist James Kichas in archival processing of the Judicial Records Preservation and Access Project. McLane previously worked as a temporary microfilm camera operator at the Utah State Archives from 2001-2004.

Sandra (Sandy) Leota was hired in August after retiring from the Utah National Guard after 22 years of active duty. Sandy is married and she and her husband have a blended family of 8, ranging in age from 17 to 31. Sandy enjoy sports (participating, not watching), gardening, quilting and camping. She is also active with church functions and is on the board of directors for "Hugs for Life", a non-profit charity. The Leotas are also involved with their sons’ music (vocals, drums, and bass guitar). They have 8 grandchildren, 3 children in college, 2 firemen (in Atlanta, Georgia) and 1 day care provider (in Tacoma, Washington).

This page was last updated August 1, 2008.